As of Aug. 26, 206,186 people from more than 100 countries had signed the petition (www.theatomproject.org/100K/) offered in 11 languages, saying “I want to let the world’s leaders know that I demand a nuclear-weapons-free world.”
The ATOM Project is an international campaign designed to do more than create awareness surrounding the human and environmental devastation caused by nuclear weapons testing.
The ATOM Project hopes to affect real and lasting change by engaging millions of global citizens to permanently stop nuclear weapons testing by joining together to show the world’s leaders that the world’s citizens deserve and demand a world without nuclear weapons testing. By signing The ATOM Project petition and joining the dialogue, we can stop nuclear weapons testing forever.
The ATOM Project has become a global phenomenon but was started by the government of Kazakhstan and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan was the victim of more than 400 nuclear weapons tests conducted over decades by the Soviet Union at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site near what is now the residential village of Semey. Those exposed to the tests have suffered horrific illness, disability and early death. Children born in Kazakhstan today of grandparents exposed to those tests continue to suffer debilitating birth defects. Kazakhstan knows the horrors of nuclear testing and, through The ATOM Project, has become world leader in the effort to ensure no such tests are ever again conducted.
Artist and international anti-nuclear weapons activist Karipbek Kuyukov is the Honorary Ambassador of The ATOM Project. Kuyukov was among those who parents were exposed to the testing at the Semipalatinsk test site. As a result, Kuyukov was born without arms. But he has overcome that obstacle to become a renowned painter who has dedicated his life and art to ending nuclear weapons testing and bringing dignity to testing victims.
Kuyukov and the project’s online petition seek to push nuclear nation leaders to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The CTBT would ultimately ban all civil or military nuclear explosions in all environments and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996. Despite being signed by 183 states and ratified by 164, the treaty remains in limbo, awaiting the signature and ratification of eight specific countries: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the U.S.
More than 200,000 people have now signed the petition and The ATOM Project is eager to see how high the number can go in unifying the world against nuclear weapons.
This week also brings the Aug. 29 UN the UN International Day against Nuclear Tests. Also at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the UN has adopted Aug. 29 annually as the UN International Day against Nuclear Tests. The ATOM Project is calling for an international moment of silence at 11:05 a.m. local time around the world on Aug. 29 in memory of all victims of nuclear weapons testing.